Catching up with Karyn

Ha! 5 Ways Laughter Makes You Healthy

“I died laughing!” my friend told me, recounting her evening at the comedy club the night before. She described how she laughed until her sides ached and mascara ran down her face.

Wow—a pretty scary picture. And yet people don’t really die laughing—quite the opposite. Laughter is one of the healthiest tools we have.

Remember when you were a child and everything was oh-so-funny? When the silliest of remarks would send you and your friends into gales of laughter? When did that stop? What does it take now to make you pause long enough in your busy life to process humor?

Do you laugh much, or have you noticed a distinct lack of laughter in your life lately? If you are not laughing, you are failing to take advantage of one of the healthiest natural activities available. So in between all the busy-ness with which your days are filled, take some time to laugh – and you may just find yourself healthier in the process. Here are five ways that laughter can...

Continue Reading...

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar

humor is power laughter Nov 05, 2008

They met as freshmen at Harvard 51 years ago! Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein have been longtime friends and colleagues. Not too long ago, they checked into a hotel with a pile of joke books and a pile of philosophy books and the result: Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar… Understanding Philosophy through Jokes. (Well, actually the original title was An Existentialist and A Horse Walk into a Bar—no joke, but I digress…)

Forty publishers rejected their book. Fortunately, the forty-first, Abrams Image, was savvy enough to spot a winner. A New York Times Best seller, as a matter of fact.

For those of you, like me, who managed to escape taking Philosophy in college (nurses aren’t encouraged to philosophize, especially while performing CPR), you would be pleasantly surprised at how the great insights of philosophers such as Kant, Aristotle, Descartes, Nietzsche, and Marx (Karl and Groucho) can be explained in such an understandable and hysterical way. The wit...

Continue Reading...

Life in the Fast(food) Lane

humor is power Nov 05, 2008

A wise person once said, “Wherever you are, be there.”

Have you ever found yourself collapsing into bed at the end of an exhausting day wondering, “What did I do all day?”  Think about it for a second…  How many ‘hats’ do you wear in a 24-hour period?  For instance there’s the parent or grandparent hat, spouse hat, the hats of chauffeur, parishioner, volunteer, friend… just to name of few.  For some of you, the list may go on and on.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Perhaps your day goes more like this:

Waking up from a peaceful sleep, you begin the day sipping a piping hot cup of coffee in bed while scanning the morning newspaper.  Then you follow a tantalizing aroma to the kitchen where your significant other has prepared and serves a delicious but low-fat breakfast that you consume at your leisure.  Next, you slip on your sharpest outfit, stroll to your luxury car and breathe in the...

Continue Reading...

Traveling Barbie Creates Fun Corporate Culture

Times are tough economically, markets are down and customers are cranky—even angry! Taking care of the employees that have to deal with these customers, and taking steps to make the environment less stressful, makes for a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce. And taking care of employees is exactly what the folks at First Allied set out to do.

In preparation for my presentation on humor and stress management (I’ve Got One Nerve Left—and You’re Standing on It!), I first met with Blake Bjordahl, Sr. VP and Director of Operations and got a personal tour of the operations in San Diego. I was delighted to see evidence of many employees who took their jobs seriously and themselves lightly. Cubicles were decorated with pictures, cartoons, and even Legos, In one area, nicknamed “The Playground,” a bookcase contained numerous games, books and toys designed to help the staff de-stress. The vending machines were even subsidized so no one had to...

Continue Reading...

Lead with Laughter!

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership.”
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

The secret for effective humor in leadership is to set the tone for humor, while at the same time, set high expectations. Effective leaders understand that there are three primary benefits for using humor with their staff: Stress management, communication, and motivation.

Stress management
“Terminal professionalism” seems to be a sign of the times. But taking oneself too seriously can have some unpleasant side effects. According to a recent Gallup Poll approximately 1 million employees in the US miss work daily due to stress related conditions. Stressed out workers make costly mistakes; sometimes even deadly ones.

Humor is recognized as a healthy coping mechanism (as compared to unhealthy means, such as smoking, drinking, drugs, excessive work, etc). It is by no means the be-all-end-all. Today people need a variety of coping mechanisms to survive and thrive. Melodie Chenevert, author of...

Continue Reading...

Today’s Nursing Crisis: A Laughing Matter?

Did you hear the one about…?  According to a recent study, one of every three U.S. nurses surveyed under age 30 plans to leave their jobs within the next year. One in five nurses plans to leave the profession within five years because of unsatisfactory working conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 450,000 additional registered nurses will be needed to fill the present demand.  Experts worry about the year 2020, when the registered nurse shortage is projected to reach 500,000 positions, coinciding with the increasing needs of healthcare in an aging U.S. population.

It is obvious that the state of health care today is no joke.  But it may be a laughing matter, if one understands the premise that humor oftentimes is generated by painful circumstances.  There is nothing funny about unlimited resources, job security or a physician who responds quickly and cheerfully to a nurse’s request. The things that make nurses laugh tend to be the...

Continue Reading...

Stress Busters

There’s no one coping mechanism that will work for every stressful occasions. People need a variety of skills to stay healthy. These could include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation just to name a few.  But the benefits of humor and laughter are so plentiful, so convenient, and so cost-effective that people would be foolish to leave these awesome coping tools out of their coping toolbox.

Here are a few quick stress busters. Try one the next time your energy level drops and your attitude is sagging:

Call your own answering machine or voice mail to leave a humorous message that you can enjoy later. Bonus—you get to laugh twice: Once when you leave the message and again when you play it back.  (For example: “Just calling to remind you to be careful when you go by the post office to pick up stamps and be sure to wear clean underwear because you never know when you might be in an accident!”)

Keep a file folder at your...

Continue Reading...

Humor: The Heart of the Matter

Scientists continue to support what we’ve known to be true since Biblical times: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  Studies in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) have demonstrated that humor, laughter and positive emotions have a positive effect on the immune system, the respiratory system and now evidence shows a link between a healthy heart and a sense of humor.

A team of Maryland medical researchers found in a study of 300 people (half of whom had histories of heart problems) that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in humorous situations than those with healthy hearts.  “The old saying that laughter is the best medicine definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” said Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventative Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The people with heart disease were much less likely to even recognize humor. They also laughed less, even...

Continue Reading...

Humor, Cancer and Chronic Illness

“I’m not afraid of dying.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”  Woody Allen

Pat’s hand gripped mine tightly– her eyes glistened with mischief. “I so look forward to your visits. Everyone else around here is so darned serious!  I wish they’d just lighten up a little.”  I looked around the room and she was right. Her 58-year-old husband and 32-year-old daughter sat on the couch, looking as if a smile would shatter their faces into a million pieces.  “Tell me something funny that happened to you this week,” she continued. “What’s that little boy of yours been up to now?”

Pat was one of several patients that I made home visits to as a nurse, following up after her chemo and radiation for a tumor in her neck and jaw. Physically she was doing fine and her outlook was tremendous. However, her family had an attitude that could sink a battle ship. Even though Pat valued...

Continue Reading...

Humor Appreciation: Taking It to The Next Level

I sipped my coffee and listened to my friend vent about her company’s merger. “I was so stressed out about the new changes being implemented at work,” Susan explained while rolling her eyes. “Then someone said something silly and I just lost it. I laughed and laughed until I was limp as a dishrag. Nothing had changed, but I just felt better for having laughed!”

It’s becoming accepted knowledge that positive benefits can be acquired from appreciating humor and laughter. Psychologist Michele Newman supported previous studies that found humor has a buffering effect and reduces the negative effects of stress. This study extended previous findings by demonstrating that humor is beneficial even for people who do not typically choose to use it to cope with stress. This finding was consistent with the belief that the ability to use humor to cope can be acquired rather than being a fixed, unchangeable trait.”

“Humor appreciation involves...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.